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dnolan 11-19-2007 10:26 PM

Fermentation Question
On Saturday night, I boiled up my first batch of beer from a extract malt kit (True Brew IPA). I believe I followed the instructions accurately except on the advice of a friend, I substituted a WLP-001 yeast for the yeast that came with the kit. After cooling, I transferred the wort to the primary (which in my case is the 6.5 gallon bucket with air lock) and now two days later, I don't see much happening. I have what seem to be stationary air bubbles in the air lock and see no bubbles breaking the surface. Please forgive my ignorance, but is this normal at this stage or is this evidence of lousy fermentation and what should I be looking for to indicate that things are OK?

bradsul 11-19-2007 10:29 PM

Bubbles in the airlock aren't a reliable method of determining fermentation. Did you receive a hydrometer with your kit? If not I would go and purchase one. Only the hydrometer can accurately tell you how your fermentation is progressing.

At any rate, leave it until at least this saturday before you start worrying about it. Beer is actually pretty hard to screw up as long as your sanitation is good.

Edit: Welcome to HBT and congrats on the first batch! :mug:

dnolan 11-19-2007 10:35 PM

I received a hydrometer with the kit and the specific gravity was 1.050 before I sealed up the bucket. This is consistent with what the kit said it should be. I will wait until the weekend and take another reading. Is there anyway to determine if things are going well without opening things up and taking the specific gravity?

Joker 11-19-2007 10:43 PM

If the lid is not on tight you won't get any bubbles they will escape out the side.

Waiting and taking the reading is about all you can do.

Welcome to HBT and your new hobby patience with a side of brewing. ;)

It gets better everyone panics over there first born. :mug:

bradsul 11-19-2007 11:50 PM

Just relax and let the yeast do their thing. Patience (next to sanitation) is the key to homebrewing. ;)

eviljafar 11-20-2007 01:15 AM

I guess you put the yeast in after you cooled?

Personally I like to take the lid off my pail afer a few hours and have a look and see if there's a krausen. I don't use an airlock on my primary so I'm never going to see bubbling. Once I know fermentation is going I usually check it every couple of days. When the krausen has completely gone I start taking SG readings and when the SG is steady over 2-3 days I rack to the secondary.

Waiting a week and taking a reading is good advice though, the more you take the lid off the more opportunity for infection. It's incredibly unlikely your yeast wasn't viable and it will take about a week for "on the top of the can" dry yeast to finish fermentation.

Old_Brewer 11-20-2007 01:44 AM

I agree with all of the good advice from the others. Next time aerate the wort before pitching. You could also use a yeast nutrient. I usually use less than the recommended amount of 1 teaspoon per gallon.

I’m not familiar with the yeast that you used. I like to let the yeast bloom if it is a dry yeast, and actually make a starter. Your yeast seems to be a liquid. Was it a vial or in a package that you smack and then let it “puff’ up?

One of the nice things about this hobby is that you can keep it pretty simple, or make it more complex. Just keep it sanitary!

dnolan 11-20-2007 02:27 AM

Thanks for the help....I feel a lot more confident after discussing this issue with you guys.

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